This is the go-home show for “Lockdown.” Can TNA successfully convince us to shell out our hard-earned cash (or three hours of our lives and sore backsides) on their pay-per-view offering? Let’s find out.

We open with  – wait, this can’t be right – AJ Styles calling out Jeff Jarrett. That’s right, the first person out to the ring is not a member of the Main Event Mafia or a former WWE employee! AJ is not angry with the Founder of TNA (drink), but he does want Jarrett to address rumors that have been flying about in regard to Jarrett’s possible joining the Main Event Mafia. Jarrett’s music hits, and he comes to the ring. AJ tells Jarrett that he understands the pressure that Jarrett is under, but he wants to know if Jarrett is truly with the rest of the team come “Lethal Lockdown” match at the Sunday ppv.  Jarrett takes great offense at his integrity being questioned, and when AJ attempts to apologize, Jarrett is having none of it.

SIDE NOTE: With all of the apologizing, talking about the young guys letting Jarrett down, and painting Jarrett in glowing colors as the one and only true leader capable of guiding the up-and-comers, AJ has come off as an insecure, pathetic loser. The Phenomenal One should NEVER be treated like this. He has nothing for which to apologize, and this smacks of Jarrett writing himself to be put over by the very guys he supposedly founded the company to help. 

Jarrett announces that the unveiling of the fourth member of Team Jarrett would prove once and for all where his loyalties were. That man, a former TNA champion, will wrestle Kevin Nash to determine which team gets the advantage in “Lethal Lockdown.” Cue the Main Event Mafia. You had to know this was coming. Sting is conspicuously absent. Kurt Angle tells Jarrett that Nash can’t get medical clearance to wrestle tonight because the staph infection in his elbow hasn’t healed properly. Angle wants to replace Nash in th ematch. AJ has a fit and says that Team Angle should forfeit the match and give Team Jarrett the advantage. Angle mocks AJ, saying that he didn’t know that AJ was in charge. Jarrett interrupts, allows Angle to substitute for Nash, and leaves the ring before AJ can confront him about the decision.

To the back! Sheik Abdul Bashir cuts a promo, with Team No Limit and Kiyoshi standing by. The Japanese contingent volunteered to join his cause, he says. This is confusing. One really gets the feeling that someone decided to throw all the vaguely brown guys into a group for no other reason than they are all vaguely brown. How have Kiyoshi and No Limit been victimized? Were they promised great things if they came to TNA, and once they got here, they were all but ignored or completely misbooked? There are legitimate arguments for that, but we aren’t told anything. There’s no built-in reason to hate Japan in 2009, so why is any of this happening? Even a poor explanation is better than none at all.

Match #1: Homicide defeats Naito and Chris Sabin in a 3-way match: This match was a preview of the 3-way tag team match for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles at the ppv. The announcers proclaimed that this match could steal the show, and it most certainly could. If TNA honestly thought that, however, one would think that the match and the guys in it would have gotten more tv time and focus over the past month. In any case, this was a good match, with plenty of solid action, but at under five minutes, it was just too rushed. True, it isn’t one of the main storylines, but it really needed to go longer. Naito and Sabin double-teamed Homicide at first, but it became “every man for himself” before long. Homicide hit an amazing tope con hilo that carried him past the fans and into the wall. Naito and Sabin went at it in the ring while Homicide was out of the picture, and Naito planted Sabin with a German suplex, but only got a two-count. Sabin went for a top rope hurricanrana on Naito, but a recovered Homicide pushed him off the top turnbuckle, and hit Naito with the 5150 variation of the Diamond Cutter for the pin.

To the back! A taxi pulls up. It’s Brother Runt and Balls Mahoney!

To Jim Cornette’s office! Abyss wants a match tonight, as he doesn’t have one. Enter ODB and Cody Deaner. ODB complains that she has to fight in the “Queen of the Cage” match at “Lockdown,” but she hasn’t had a match on “Impact” in quite some time. She needs a tune-up match for the ppv. Cornette tells Abyss and ODB to find partners, as they’re going to have a mixed tag match tonight. Abyss protests that his girlfriend Lauren isn’t a wrestler. Seriously, is Lauren supposed to be Abyss’s girlfriend now? I thought he was just delusional. Cornette tells Abyss to find one of the Knockouts. ODB asks Cody Deaner why he’s still around, as he only won one night with her. Deaner goes off about how much he knows that she’s into him, and carries her off over his shoulder, cave-man style.

To the sit-down interview with Mike Tenay! Jeff Jarrett talks about not knowing who will be showing up for the match at “Lockdown,” the Executive Shareholder Mick Foley, or the Cactus Jack whom he wrestled back in the territory days. He discusses his relationship with Scott Steiner, and how Steiner was always the favorite of his late wife. When he looks at his three little girls, he knows that he has to look out for Jeff Jarrett first and foremost. Interesting stuff, and the teased turn continues.

To the Main Event Mafia’s dressing room! Kevin Nash and Jenna Morasca continue flirting in the background. Good to know she’s paid for doing something useful. Kurt Angle says that he has no idea who his opponent is tonight, but that he guarantees a victory for his team anyway.

Match #2: Awesome Kong, Raisha Saeed, and Taylor Wilde defeat Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Madison Rayne: This match went about one minute. Again, for a six-person match, that’s just too short. Kong hit Angelina Love with the Implant Buster and got the win. The post-match was what mattered anyway. Angelina Love sprayed Kong in the eyes with hair spray, hit her in the face with the title belt, and The Beautiful People cut Kong’s braids off.

Note to Don West: Please focus on what is happening in the ring. After all the attention given to whether or not The Beautiful People would even be able to cut Kong’s hair, the moment that it actually happens is NOT the time to launch into a discussion of Jeff Jarrett.

Still, The Beautiful People looked sneaky, treacherous, and able to defeat Kong’s power through strategy. After a commercial break, Kong is shown screaming and trashing the backstage area, while Raisha Saeed vainly attempts to calm her. Tenay and West question the wisdom of angering Kong this badly right before a title match. This match just got a lot more interesting.

To the “Rough Cuts” segment! These segments are always well-done, but how many of them do Team 3-D really need? Isn’t this the fourth one in a row? At least with the series on the Ultimate X match, the focus was on a type of match, and covered a number of different wrestlers in the process. It just seems a bit much. Brother Ray does talk about the fact that Team 3-D is only the second American tag team to hold the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles in the past decade.

To the back! Yet more interview time with Team 3-D, but now, we’re live! They are interrupted, however, by the arrival of Brother Runt and Balls Mahoney! ECW reunion time! ECW is never mentioned by name, but “the old guard” only means one thing. Runt (he’ll always be Spike Dudley to me) and Balls say that they’re just passing through on their way to an indy show, but that they wanted to stop by and congratulate Team 3-D, and wish them luck at the ppv. Lots of hugging and mention of big ECW names. Definitely fun for fans of the original ECW.

Match #3: Abyss and Daffney defeat Cody Deaner and ODB: Yes! Go, crazy Daffney! Nice ring gear, too. Daffney and ODB didn’t do very much against each other, though. Cody Deaner played afraid to tag in, but when he did, it was all about the comedy. Abyss totally no-sold Deaner’s attacks, as well he should. Chants of “Turn the hat! Turn the hat!” were answered by the turning of the hat. No matter. Abyss hits Deaner with the Black Hole Slam and gets the win in under four minutes. Again, post-match was the thing here, as Matt Morgan ran out and nailed Abyss with the Carbon Footprint.

To the back! Scott Steiner tells Jeremy Borash that his conversations with Jeff Jarrett are a private matter, but that by the night’s end, Jarrett’s actions would speak loudly enough. Steiner walks off.

To the ring! Mick Foley interviews Cactus Jack. As many other people have posted already, this could have been really interesting or really awful. Foley basically went Gollum/Smeagol from “Lord of the Rings,” with both personalities arguing back and forth. Cactus is sick of Foley cashing the checks that Cactus’s body wrote. When Foley tries to interrupt, Cactus starts punching himself in th eface, opening up his forehead. Sting enters, and stops the interview. Sting asks if Foley has lost his mind, and says that he thinks Foley truly believes what he just did. Foley mentions how, twenty years ago, everyone else feared Cactus Jack, but Sting didn’t. The one time Sting ever looked concerned was when the fans started chanting “Cactus Jack! Cactus Jack!” Some fans responded to this, and started the chant. Suddenly, the music of the Main Event Mafia hits, and Sting turns to look. No one appears, and Foley hits Sting from behind. As Foley beats Sting down, he says that he set up the music, and he could have anything done that he likes. To prove a point, he demands that the music of Curry Man play. It does. He demands that the music of Shark Boy play. It does. He demands that Sting’s music play. It does. Foley pulls out the baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, and says that he runs this company, and can do anything he wants. This weekend, he wants to destroy Sting. All in all, a strong piece, but anyone else would have been booed out of the building. People seem reluctant to buy into Foley as a heel, despite the fact that he’s doing great heel work.

To the back! Beer Money jumps Brother Runt and Balls Mahoney, fighting them out to the ring. James Storm threw Brother Runt around like the proverbial rag doll, and Balls Mahoney got busted open early on. Storm busted open Brother Runt with a DDT onto a chair. Balls Mahoney took several sick chair shots to the head. Runt was hung upside down from the top turnbuckle, and smashed with another chair shot. Robert Roode planted Runt through a table with a super bomb, and that was it. Team 3-D only came out towards the end, and as Beer Money bails from the ring, Brother Ray has a mic. He repeats several times a variation of “Why did you do this to our brothers?” Beer Money’s response? “Because we can!”

SIDE NOTE: Why did no one on the announce team point out that the exact same response issued forth from the lips of Brother Ray back when Team 3-D was out to destroy the X-Division? That would have been a good time to point out that Team 3-D was getting back exactly what they had dished out on so many occasions, and that they seemed unprepared. What does that say for Beer Money’s chances at “Lockdown?” Ah, well.

Team 3-D can apparently book their own match stipulations, as they challenge Beer Money to make their match a Philadelphia Street Fight. This is odd because the match was going to be a Six Sides of Steel cage match anyway. Can they leave the cage now? Will they even be in the ring? The big deal about “Lockdown” has always been that each match is a cage match. This change doesn’t really help.

To the back! AJ Styles has no clue who the last man onthe team will be. He also has no idea what Jeff Jarrett is thinking, going into “Lockdown.”

To the ring! Kurt Anglemakes his entrance. Jeff Jarrett makes his entrance. AJ Styles is shown watching the back monitor. Jarrett says that he has to make some easy decisions and some hard decisions. The decision about the mystery partner was an easy decision because it wasn’t about him. It was about AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, the rest of the (supposed) Front Line, and all the TNA fans. The last man on the team is…Christopher Daniels! AJ Styles goes nuts. The crowd goes nuts. Daniels makes a grand entrance to a remix of his old music and a completely new look. Long tights and a top piece. And facial hair. Hmm.

Match #4: Kurt Angle defeats Christopher Daniels: Team Angle now has the “man advantage” in the Lethal Lockdown match. Daniels looked great, and the match was dead even all the way through. Every typical Angle move was countered, and Daniels actually got the better of Angle. When Daniels kicked out of the Olympic Slam, everyone went nuts again. Daniels looked stronger against Angle than anyone since the second match with Samoa Joe. This really was a great match. Daniels rolled out of another Angle Lock and caught Angle in a 3/4 nelson for the pin. The place almost exploded, and AJ rushes the ring to celebrate with Daniels. Unfortunately, both men’s shoulders were on the mat at the same time. Angle insists that he won, and attacks referee Rudy Charles. Jim Cornette comes out, and attempts to restore order. He starts to say, with great regret, that from his vantage point at the backstage monitor, he saw something different from the referee, and that Daniels’s shoulders were in fact on the mat, but he never get sto say so. Angle yells at Cornette, cusses him, and spits in his face. Cornette shouts back that he has changed his mind, the decision will stand, and Daniels wins. Angle tries to choke Cornette, and screams for Jarrett to come out and fix this. Jarrett does, and says that he watched the video in the production truck from several different angles (no pun intended). He then replayed the video clip on the big screen, and proved that Angle had gotten a shoulder up while Daniels still had both shoulders down during the pin attempt. Jarrett throws out the referee’s decision and awards the victory and the “man advantage” to Team Angle. Angle jumps up and down like a child. Cornette, AJ, and Daniels confront Jarrett and argue most vehemently. Samoa Joe’s music kicks in, and one very pissed off Samoan hits the ring as we go to credits.

Sure, the ending of the main event made me angry. It was supposed to. Giving the heels the advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match had to happen, and this really was the only way. Daniels is back, and looked absolutely glorious in the ring. I’m actually really getting excited that the Front Line may take back their show. I’m actually buying “Lockdown,” and here are my personal predictions, based on nothing whatsoever beyond me.         


“Lockdown” Predictions:

I’m completely stealing the “Head vs. Heart” concept from our illustrious brother writer, as it is both amazing and brilliant. Fear not, he shall receive fair and just compensation. I shall give him brownies. With no walnuts.

Mick Foley vs. (c)Sting

Head: Sting. Foley will do a number of sick things as Cactus Jack, but Sting will manage to pull out the victory. Foley as World Heavyweight Champion simply won’t work. He’d have to wrestle more often, and really couldn’t be “Executive Shareholder” any longer. Maybe that was the plan all along, and “Survivor” Skank will take over the Foley role. When she isn’t wrestling in the ring, “all covered in glitter.” And peanut butter. But I digress. Neither Sting nor Foley can physically handle the role of World Champion for much longer. Taking the belt off of Sting would mean more than taking it off of Foley, as far as the Front Line (such as it is) is concerned. 

Heart: My heart is not in this match. I’m actually rather bothered that I don’t care about this match. I should. The build-up and execution of Foley/Sting has been top notch. I can’t criticize it, it’s been very well done. I just don’t care.

Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Booker T, Scott Steiner, & Kevin Nash) vs. Team Jarrett (Jeff Jarrett, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, & Christopher Daniels)

Head: Team Angle. I’m sick as hell of all of these guys, but with the possibility of heel turns and member acquisitions, they’ll probably win through some form of treachery. 

Heart: Team Jarrett. Every possible odd is against them. Team Angle has the man advantage. Jarrett has repeatedly teased joining the Main Event Mafia, or at least not being truly with his team. Jarrett can’t be trusted, Joe doesn’t want anything to do with anybody, AJ is confused, and Daniels just “came back.” Considering all this, I would certainly hope that Team Jarrett wins. The story is much more compelling if they do.

Team 3D vs. (c) Beer Money

Head: Team 3D. Would New Japan really let an American team win their belts, a rare occurrence anyway, only to have those belts won by another American team on American soil? I just don’t see it.  

Heart: Beer Money. They’ve been set up perfectly to win, and they SHOULD. All of Team 3D’s self-congratulatory rhetoric about training guys at their school and passing the torch means nothing at all if they don’t actually DO it. I like Beer Money, very much. They aren’t the best tag team on the TNA roster, but they’re better than I ever thought they would be, and they should win this match. Period.

Black Machismo Jay Lethal vs. Sheik Abdul Bashir vs. Consequences Creed vs. Kiyoshi vs. (c)Suicide

Head: Suicide. He’s only had the title a month, and if all the shirts turning up in the audience and the crowd reactions are legit, there’s plenty more mileage to be had out of the X-Division Champion Suicide.

Heart: Suicide. Come on! Lethal, Creed, and Kiyoshi are nothings right now. Annoying, as Kiyoshi could be great. Lethal and Creed irritate me to no end. Even so, Bashir is the only one positioned as any kind of a threat, and if he’s leading an anti-American stable, they’re more effective chasing the belt and complaining about not having it than carrying it.

Taylor Wilde vs. Angelina Love vs. (c)Awesome Kong

Head: Taylor Wilde. Getting the belt off of Kong seems to be necessary, even if she isn’t in as much pain as was once believed. TNA seems to be much higher on Taylor Wilde than most of the fans are (Legend Killer excepted), and “the Upset Queen” ending up with the title isn’t that farfetched.

Heart: Awesome Kong. Taking the belt off Kong should really mean something, and the set-up just hasn’t been right. She should retain until it is. I really like the idea of Angelina Love as champion, but it just seems a little rushed for her to win it now. If Angelina Love wins the title by pinning Taylor Wilde, and Kong goes ballistic because she didn’t technically lose, that could get very interesting.  

Abyss vs. Matt Morgan

Head: Abyss. I’ve picked him to win the last three ppv matches that he’s had, and I’ve been wrong each time. If this is the most violent match going, it’s high time that Abyss gets a win.

Heart: My heart is not in this match. Matt Morgan does nothing for me, and his victories over Abyss haven’t done much for his career because Abyss has been completely bitchified.

ODB vs. Madison Rayne vs. Daffney vs. Sojo Bolt

Head: ODB. She’s the biggest name on the list, and why feature her in the manner that she was featured on this week’s show if she weren’t going to win the match?

Heart: Daffney! I want to see Daffney win this. The very concept of “Queen of the Cage” sounds demented, and having the crazy chick win it would be too perfect. What better way to establish the character? Madison Rayne is terrible in the ring, and has no business winning a match under these conditions. Sojo Bolt hasn’t been mentioned or appeared on tv in ages, to the point where many viewers may not know who she is. ODB may be “unpredictable,” and may have the highest name recognition, but in terms of character, this match should belong to Daffney. I just hope she starts screaming again.

The Latin American Xchange vs. No Limit vs. (c)The Motor City Machineguns

Head: No Limit. The same argument that was made for Team 3D retaining their titles can be applied here. Why have a Japanese team come to TNA (albeit with no fanfare and little exposure) and fight with the guys who won the Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team titles in Japan, if not to take the belts back to Japan with them? No Limit is not a permanent TNA fixture, and once they win these belts back, they can return to their home promotion.

Heart: Hmm, let’s see…. Oh, please! Motor City Machine Guns, if there is any form of divine justice in this universe! It’s bad enough that they have pretty much been shut out of TNA’s tag team division since last year’s “Against All Odds,” and they had to win tag team gold in a promotion in another country. Then, that win doesn’t get much explanation or exposure. Neither did their successful defense of said belts in Japan. Sure, it’s great that they get tv time at all by being props for Mick Foley, Sting, and the rest of the Main Event Mafia, but they should be doing what they were meant to do. Kicking tag team wrestling up to a level it hasn’t seen in a very long time. Please let the Guns retain! I’ll be good, I promise!    

Let’s see if the head or the heart wins out. Even Lance Storm was impressed with this week’s “Impact,” and wants to see what happens at “Lockdown.” Who are you to argue with Lance Storm? Nobody! That’s who! Nobody! While a real-time report is questionable, check back right here for a review of “Lockdown” some time on Monday.

Peace out,

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